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Few things can damage a site worse than bad web design, and yet it’s still so common among businesses with an online presence. It seems obvious that a company should put their best foot forward with their site, after all, a company probably wouldn’t paint their reception area with polka dots, or leave a number of offices empty. But major mistakes like these are common online, whether they are cosmetic or functional in origin, and they all have the capacity to damage the business’s reputation, marketability, and capacity to turn traffic into customers, or improving website conversions. Not every company owner is technically inclined, though, and that’s perfectly fine because there are professional development and design firms ready to breathe new life into the site.

What does bad web design normally consist of? 

While the occasional ugly business site does still exist, most problems are under the hood now, or at least subtle enough that they may not seem obvious. For example, the site’s navigation tree may lead to a missing page, or several navigation entries may lead to the same page. Images used on the site may be of low quality, or placed in odd spots. Poor typeface choices or color choices may make it difficult to read copy and appear amateurish to a visitor. The site may be overdone as well, with too much media or too much intricacy, when something simpler and easier to use would be more appropriate.

What are the costs of bad web design?

It goes without saying that a poorly organized site is going to turn people away. If the site looks disorganized and askew, people won’t consider the business professional or trustworthy. If the site has terrible navigation and broken links, potential customers will consider the business unreliable or unresponsive. That may not be fair, but company owners know the power of a first impression.

But it goes deeper than that. Search engines, and particularly Google, focus on how sites are built and organized when determining rankings, and bad web design can intrude on this to a great degree. For example, if Google’s bots can’t find a certain page, Google will consider the site incomplete or unreliable. If Google notices that the site is built with outdated code or techniques, it will assume the site isn’t compatible with modern browsers, or that it hasn’t been updated in a while, both of which will hurt the site’s rankings. Google prefers sites that are built for speed and user friendliness, and will consider a site’s mobile platform or responsive web design as well. That might be alarming to many businesses, as mobile is usually given less consideration, but it matters. If a business has two different sites for mobile and desktop users, they will cannibalize each other’s impact, and both will suffer in the rankings as a result. And speed, don’t forget about speed. A well-built site will return pages faster and promote a better user experience, which is why Google also considers speed in its ranking algorithms.

A site doesn’t have to win best in show to get the job done and promote excellent marketability. But it does have to be built with a plan in mind, and this should be handled by a web design firm with a solid reputation and years of experience.

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